COLUMBUS: Ohio began issuing its first new permits Tuesday for deep injection of chemically laced wastewater from oil and gas drilling since a New Year’s Eve quake in Youngstown prompted an unofficial statewide moratorium.
Rick Simmers, head of the state’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources, said the first four new permits went out Tuesday to sites in Athens, Portage and Washington counties. He said another 28 sites will be permitted in small batches of five or under in coming months.
The Portage County well is located in Deerfield Township.
“We never had an official moratorium on issuing the permits, but we’ve asked the companies to work cooperatively with us as we upgrade our statutes and rules to make them even more stringent, and the companies have,” Simmer said in an interview with the Associated Press.
State natural resources officials now believe new regulations include safeguards to protect against future quakes.